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Islanders fall to league’s best, Lake Cowichan Kraken earn win and loss

Cowichan’s jr. B teams finding footing early in VIJHL season
Kraken forward Sukhraj Narwal scored a hattrick against the Nanaimo Buccaneers Oct. 9. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette file)

The Kerry Park Islanders faced a mighty challenge early in their VIJHL season, facing the top two teams in the league’s North division.

On Oct. 11, the Isles played host to the league-leading Comox Valley Glacier Kings at Kerry Park Arena.

While Kerry Park matched the high-flying Glacier Kings nearly shot-for-shot, the visitors were better able to convert on their chances, scoring twice each period for a total of six goals overall, to the home team’s three.

Kerry Park didn’t tally their first goal until 5:24 of the second when Eric Stinson converted a powerplay opportunity (assists: Carson Brown, Aleko Sdrakas) to pull the Islanders within one.

The Islanders’ Sdrakas, who has emerged as one of the team’s most consistent scorers, netted two in the middle frame to pull Kerry Park even with the Glacier Kings at 3-3. Assists went to Carson Strom (2) and Stinson.

The draw lasted less than four minutes, though, as Comox scored again before the end of the period.

Two more goals from the visiting team in the third went unmatched by the Isles, who ultimately fell 6-3 in the hard-fought battle.

The tough loss came after an Oct. 7 road-trip to Oceanside to face the Generals. That game also ended in disappointment for the Islanders.

Already struggling on the road, the Isles had been looking to reverse their fortunes but ran into a hot Oceanside team who was ready to play.

The Generals got on the board in the first 90 seconds and never looked back, scoring six more times before the end of the first period.

Midway through the second, and already down 8-0, Sdrakas got the Islanders on the board on the power play.

Assists went to Jacob Wingfield and Carson Brown.

Sdrakas got his second of the game (from Tyler Zembrzycki) later in the period but only after the Generals had put up another goal.

By the end of two periods the score was 9-2 for Oceanside with more to come. After Oceanside’s 10th marker, Kerry Park got one back from Eric Stinson (from Sdrakas and Brown) on the power play but less than a minute later the Generals struck again. Then again.

Sdrakas earned the hattrick goal with 1:06 left to play, from Lukas Tokic, which while a valiant individual effort, wasn’t enough to outpace the Generals, who claimed the victory with the 12-4 score.

Kerry Park was out-shot 41 to 23 in the contest.

Kraken split latest two

On the other side of the region, the Lake Cowichan Kraken fell to 5-2 to the Campbell River Storm on the road on Oct. 7 before squeezing by Nanaimo Buccaneers 4-3 at home Oct. 9.

Walker Smith and Richard Bergman scored for the Kraken in the loss with Aiden Eddy picking up an assist on the Bergman powerplay goal. Smith was named the game’s first star.

Roughly 120 showed up to cheer for Lake Cowichan when they welcomed the Buccaneers into the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena Sunday and the home team gave its supporters the victory.

Bergman continued his scoring ways with the team’s first two goals. Assists went to Sukhraj Narwal (2) and Kyler Smith.

Narwal got the Kraken’s third goal of the game, which put the Kraken ahead 3-1 after two periods of play.

Nanaimo woke up, though, and scored two in the third to force overtime, which solved nothing.

In the shootout Eddy and Rowan Zapisocki scored for the Kraken to earn the team the victory. Brendan Wilson got the win in goal for Lake Cowichan, making 21 saves on 24 shots in 65 minutes of play.

Bergman was the second star of the game.